It's Year 3 of our ongoing work at the Hog's Back Orchard. COPSE partnered with the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust (ARCT), funded by Puttenham Parish Council with trees donated through People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) Orchard Grant.
The task involved ARCT Team maintaining a great crested newt pond near Puttenham School at the foot of the Hog's Back; creating space for a new pond (behind group photo above) next to the Orchard; removing dangerous ash die-back; and planting PTES fruit-trees.
A rewarding day and many thanks to the ARCT Tuesday Wealden Team and Dave Meyers for the video:
Happy 2022 to all our friends, partners, helpers, volunteers, community members, to people we know and have already met, or are yet to know! Despite the immense pressures we all faced in 2021, it was a good first real year for COPSE - lockdowns really highlighted the importance of accessible outdoor community green spaces for all of us - and wider recognition and understanding of the climate and biodiversity challenges the world faces, we're sure brought more people to our door (or metaphorical orchard gate!) It's certainly true to say that we have enjoyed every community orchard project we've been involved with.
In 2021, we organised community planting days in Cranleigh, Puttenham, Eashing and Wrecclesham. We held a Community Apple Day and partnered with National Trust volunteers and others to bring in the apple harvest in Haslemere and used heritage apple pressing equipment to press juice and start a cider ferment. We held community pop up consultations at Grayshott and at Liphook and planted the first 12 of 60 fruit trees in a 5 year project to create an orchard trail at the cemetery in Eashing, in partnership with Waverley Borough Council and Thakeham Homes.
In doing so we've played a part in both bringing community together and enhancing habitat for wildlife - community orchards are a win-win for each separately and together - and there's even more to come in 2022. Wassails, Bioblitz, Community Orchard Planting Days, walks and talks are all in the pipeline. Whatever this year brings, one thing for sure is that the Orchard Year (see below) presents lots of opportunity to get outdoors and work together to help create and enhance green space for each other and for the natural world that surrounds us, but needs a little helping hand.
We hope to see you at one of our community events SOON! Any queries, concerns, ideas please do email firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd be very glad to hear from you.
Claire, Gareth, Susan & Andy
Godalming Town and Waverley Borough Councils engaged with COPSE to plant an orchard at Eashing Cemetery, with 60 fruit trees to be planted over a five-year period. The first 12 trees were planted (three cherry and nine plums) on 20th November, with over 50 local residents helping-out. The plans for a Community Garden were also unveiled by Thakeham Homes, inviting resident's feedback. The Orchard planting took place near the entrance, with a trail to be developed around the perimeter of the Cemetery starting and ending at the Garden. During January COPSE hopes to organise a guided walk around the Cemetery.
After the Apple Day in October, we met-up with the Duke of Edinburgh volunteer team to plant some more hedgerow trees and mulch between the new hedge. Following the tidy-up of the plot by Waverley Borough Council in early 2021, the residents of Queensway have helped to showcase biodiversity in a variety of ways, including planting a Community orchard (with six heritage apple varieties), a 25m native hedge, installing a stag-beetle pyramid, bee hotel, ‘no-dig’ mulch along the site’s perimeter, ‘bark-chip’ store, reptile survey sheet, large habitat pile and a patch of orchid-turf. Next is the Wassail in January 2022….
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Gareth is an ecologist interested in conserving traditional orchards and heritage fruit, for people and wildlife.